Monday, 8 July 2013

Rudd bravely takes on the union bosses

Kevin Rudd has gone for one of those crash through or crash moments. His plan to change the way the leader of the federal Parliamentary Labor Party is chosen would smash the power of those "faceless" union bosses. The Rudd proposal leaves out unions entirely from the selection process. He wants the parliamentary Caucus to provide half the voting power with rank and file members having the other half.
It is an audacious plan to change the way that Labor is governed and trade union leaders will be furious at the threatened loss of their power. In most Labor forums unions have half the say and British Labour has gone for a tri-partite voting arrangement with equal say for MPs, affiliated unions and ordinary members.
The lobbying between now and when the Caucus meets in a fortnight to consider the Rudd proposal will be intense. Not that a success for Rudd there will be the end of the matter.
I am no expert on that arcane area of knowledge that makes up Labor Party rules but the Caucus alone can not conduct a ballot of ordinary party members. It is state branches that have the names and some rule changes will be needed for them to be polled on the leadership. Just how the Prime Minister plans to get those changes made has not yet been spelled out but presumably there will need to be ratification of the plan at national and state party conferences.
At the very least changes to deal the unions into the process will be bitterly fought for.
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